Cooking Lap Mei Fan for potluck parties

The raw materials.

Yes, yes, I’ve written about cooking Lap Mei Fan (Claypot Rice) before, but if you are like me, you will totally understand how I feel about cooking for parties. Especially if the party concerned included well-established foodies with well-established palates.

Cooking Lap Mei Fan for 2 is easy and effortless but cooking for 8 or more needs a cunning plan and some elbow grease. Figuratively speaking, of course.

The main difficulty of Lap Mei Fan for large parties is heat transference. Basically what you want is an all-round slightly dry, slightly crisp rice, not half-burnt and half-undercooked rice. This is difficult to achieve for large portions of Lap Mei Fan because of the large amount of rice and the (relatively) small cooking surface.

But before we get to that, let’s go over the ingredients.


The last time I was lamenting that I didn’t get the preserved pork belly and salted fish from Woo Hing in Hong Kong. So this time, I made sure I had them.

There’s some prep to be done (other than the slicing) for the salted fish. Salted fish is rather disgusting if you use it straight. So you need to wash the salted fish to remove the excess salt, slice it into fingernail bits and fry it with julienne of ginger until golden brown. Don’t stinge on the salted fish because in the process of frying, the aroma and taste is so good, you’ll end up eating half of it anyway. And everybody loves the bite-sized salted fish, so be generous.

The other new ingredient here is the Preserved Pork Belly. It’s more like a confit because it’s preserved by a thick unctuous layer of fat. It looks nauseating and smells strange initially, but once steamed, it’s a sweet-tasting piece of heaven not quite unlike candy.

Preserved Pork Belly

And what I consider indispensable for a good Lap Mei Fan: the Chinese Liver Sausages. While the rose-scented pork sausages are essential, I find that it is the liver sausages that provide the depth and foundational flavor. Sweet as only a liver can be with just the right amount of fat that flows and binds the other flavors together. Sensational.

Chinese Liver Sausages

For a large portion of Lap Mei Fan, it is not enough to just place all the meats at the top. What I do is to create little pockets in the rice and shovel in the mixed meat. This is to ensure that the oils and aromas are better distributed as you steam everything for just a little longer.

I made Lap Mei Fan! No power in the 'verse can stop me!

In the end, your rice should look something like Biriyani with each rice grain having been colored somewhat by the oils. This is also the time to stir the claypot at medium-high heat. The is to better distribute the oils and to get the steam to evaporate as fast as possible and to allow the rice to be evenly cooked.

Put another way, using the concept of scrambled eggs, the key to a nice fluffy scrambled egg is to allow a portion of the egg to cook slightly on the pan before shifting (scrambling) it to allow the more liquid egg to cook. This cycle allows even cooking and control.

Similarly, for the Lap Mei Fan, you scrape the rice around the cooking area to ensure every portion gets cooked to the right doneness (and crispness). However, do remember that the claypot is fragile and don’t get carried away by leaving it too long on the stove as it may crack and spill everything.


And you’re done! But wait, there’s more! Before serving, you pour in the secret savory sauce and top the rice with Spring Onions. An optional would be to add roughly diced steamed Chye Sim or Meicai (preserved cabbage) to add a contrast to the taste.

Whichever the case, you will now have a fragrant pot of heaven fit for a king or extremely discerning foodies. 🙂


Posted on 17th Dec 2009 in Cantonese, Food and Drink, Recipes


There Are 8 Comments


ladyironchef commented on December 17, 2009 at 9:42 am

are we having this on the 28th for dinner too? 😀


ivan commented on December 17, 2009 at 9:47 am

Nope, this is for another party. You’ll be having Ox-tail in red wine jus.

I feel that Lap Mei Fan and dry-aged steak aren’t part of a natural progression. And you’ll be stuffed before we get to the steaks.

However, you can ask the rest to take a vote via email to see what they think and let me know. 🙂


Evan commented on December 18, 2009 at 2:43 pm

this seriously look damn good, whats more cooked in a claypot. tho’ i’ve seen this pic b4 when u showed me on twitter, still cant help salivating (again). very hungry!!!!

i hope your recipe blog will be up soon, looking forward to read 😀


ivan commented on December 23, 2009 at 11:49 am

@Evan: Well, now that I have constructive feedback from my makankaki friends, the next version will be better!


[…] search topic on Google. Most of the weekends were spent either cleaning the apartment or cooking Claypot Rice for his […] | Feed 2009 commented on January 8, 2010 at 12:34 pm

[…] yes, I also made Lap Mei Fan which I added a slight twist with shredded Chye Sim which I steamed beforehand; it gave the claypot […]


Ned commented on September 11, 2012 at 11:33 pm

Hi! I know this might not be a recent entry of yours but I couldn’t help but be enticed by the preserved pork belly! May I know where you got yours from? I would really love to try making this!! Thank you!!!!



Ivan commented on September 12, 2012 at 8:42 am

Heya! The preserved pork belly is from Woo Hin in Hong Kong.

Here’s my friend’s write-up of Woo Hin:

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